Kylie Minogue Is Keeping Disco Alive
Towards the tail end of a dark and difficult 2020, Kylie Minogue sprinkled some "Magic" into the world. Last November, the Australian pop icon returned with her aptly-titled album Disco featuring the '70s-inspired dance floor delight.
"[The album has] been putting a bit of sparkle in some people's days, so I'm really moved by that," Minogue tells Allure.
It's less a sparkle and more a strobe light in the "Magic" music video where Minogue serves Studio 54 realness. She's the queen of the club in a metallic gown that shines like a golden disco ball. And with a career that spans over 30 years, that throne is where Kylie belongs. In the U.S., Disco debuted within the top 30 of the Billboard 200 chart while hitting No. 1 in the U.K. By doing so, she became the first female artist to top the U.K. albums chart in five consecutive decades.
"It's a beautiful thing to have had a relationship, through all of its ups and downs, over such a long time with the public." About her U.K. record, Minogue adds with a laugh, "It makes me feel like I should be older than I am."
Minogue made herself known in the late '80s when her debut single, a cover of "The Loco-Motion," pulled into the top five of the Hot 100 chart. She cemented her global pop stardom in 2001 when she was someone we couldn't get out of our heads with her Grammy-winning Fever album. Throughout the decades, disco has remained an influence in her music. (She has a song called "Your Disco Needs You," after all.)
Despite the fact that most people weren’t actually setting foot in any discotheques, 2020 saw a disco-pop revival in music, most notably with Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia, followed by Lady Gaga's Chromatica. But with Disco, Minogue was honing in on a sound that defined her career. On "Where Does the DJ Go?," she shouts out the disco classic "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor.
The retro album was also an opportunity for Minogue to face the future of the music industry. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, pop stars are keeping their fans entertained through virtual shows. Minogue joined the club with her stunning Infinite Disco live-stream event. She also dropped by Lipa's Studio 2054 show for a live duet of "Real Groove."
To kick off a slightly-more-sparkly 2021, Minogue talked with Allure about her Disco album, the most memorable beauty looks from her career, and what she hopes for this year.
ALLURE: What's the story behind your beauty and fashion looks for this album's era?
KYLIE MINOGUE: The brief was obviously disco references but trying not to be completely stuck in the ‘70s. To not have an album that was disco pastiche, but more to bow down and pay our utmost respect to those absolute disco legends who provided us with so much legacy and fantasy now. To honor the style of the '70s, but to keep the glamour and some hedonistic styling, so we just played with that ever since really.
ALLURE: You appeared on Dua Lipa's live stream concert. What was that experience like to perform with her?
KM: That was great! It was brief, but I loved doing that. I think she's fantastic.
ALLURE: 2020 was said to be a disco-pop revival with artists like Dua Lipa. What did you think about all these newer artists embracing the sound?
KM: Obviously I love it. It's the kind of music that I love to listen to. I think that Dua, [Lady] Gaga, me, and whoever else has kind of touched upon disco themes, we would've all done that before 2020. It was something that was in the kind of zeitgeist, part of pop's ebb and flow.
[Disco] feels like pure escapism and sometimes it can be, but there's also a darkness and a sadness to a lot of disco songs, and nostalgia, and you could feel forward-looking with it. There's so much to play with within the disco genre, and what it does, and how it makes people feel.
ALLURE: What did you think when Gloria Gaynor wrote to you on Twitter, saying thanks for "Keeping disco alive"?
KM: [Gasps.] I know! Can you believe that? I was like [gasps] Gloria! It's just incredible. We will forever be singing "I Will Survive" forever and ever and all the generations to come. There's certain disco songs that you can't even touch. They are untouchable. That was like being anointed by one of the absolute queens of disco.
Minogue’s iconic white "Can’t Get You Out of My Head" jumpsuit.
ALLURE: What are some of your favorite looks from your career?
KM: Firstly, let me say that there's been some absolute shockers. There's been some looks and moments that really should've never happened, but that's what it is. That's history. Some of my favorites, certainly the white hooded jumpsuit from "Can't Get You Out of My Head." Something that's recent, the Alexandre Vauthier gold outfit from Infinite Disco. I thought that was beautiful. I normally do costume changes, but Infinite Disco was such that there were no changes, so to have one outfit that can do the distance, I thought it did really well. The golden hot pants [from the "Spinning Around" video].
ALLURE: 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of your Fever album. What's one of your favorite memories of that album?
KM: I feel like Fever just went stratospheric. I guess we would've dreamt of that, but it actually happening is, I think you need a little bit of luck or the planets in line for you to have those kinds of moments. I loved it. I loved recording "Can't Get You Out of My Head" of course and all the promotion for that was just so solid. It was just right. Not too far cutting edge, but just nearing the edge. I loved writing "Love at First Sight." That was amazing. And then "In Your Eyes." I really hit my stride as a songwriter then. I feel like Fever was just an incredible time for me.
ALLURE: Your fans in the LGBTQ+ community loved the "All the Lovers" music video for the same-sex couples in it. Do you have a message for them?
KM: Well, I normally have a message without having to say a message. It's there in everything I do. Inclusivity. I want people to feel free to feel loved and to express themselves. I feel fortunate that I can do that and I want to share that.
In "All the Lovers" there was all sorts going on basically and I loved it. I don't see any different. It's just, they're all people. Joseph Kahn just did a stunning job. He's an incredible director. That's the only time I've worked with him and I would love to work with him again.
ALLURE: What do you hope for in 2021?
KM: I want to hug a lot of people. I hope that we can get through this situation. Myself like so many people had the time to reflect and perhaps understand ourselves and what's really important. I feel almost guilty that I've been able to keep working and create when there's just so many stories of people not being able to stay afloat. I don't wish anything for myself. I want it to be better for people.
Lucas Villa is a Mexican-American music journalist who covers pop and Latin music. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
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